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Jane Eyre

Charlotte Brontë

Published in: 1847

Jane Eyre is one of the most famous of British novels. Charlotte Brontë first published the book as Jane Eyre: An Autobiography under the pseudonym Currer Bell. The novel was an immediate critical and popular success. Especially effusive in his praises was William Makepeace Thackeray, to whom Charlotte Brontë dedicated the novel's second edition, which was illustrated by F. H. Townsend.

Plot Summary

The novel begins in Gateshead Hall, where a ten-year-old orphan named Jane Eyre is living with her mother's brother's family. The brother, surnamed Reed, dies shortly after adopting Jane. His wife, Mrs. Sarah Reed, and their three children (John, Eliza and Georgiana) neglect and abuse Jane, for they resent Mr. Reed's preference for the little orphan in their midst. In addition, they dislike Jane's plain looks and quiet yet passionate character. Thus, the novel begins with young John Reed bullying Jane, who retaliates with unwonted violence. Jane is blamed for the ensuing fight, and Mrs. Reed has two of the servants drag her off and lock her up in the red-room, the unused chamber where Mr. Reed had died. Still locked in that night, Jane sees a light and panics, thinking that her uncle's ghost has come. Her scream rouses the house, but Mrs. Reed just locks up Jane for longer. Then Jane has a fit and passes out. A doctor, Mr. Lloyd, comes to Gateshead Hall and suggests that Jane go to school.

(From Wikipedia, description text under GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL))

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